I know and have worked with a guy who is amazing at coming up with creative ideas to meet objectives in public relations campaigns. He is, quite literally, an idea generator. In one brainstorming session, he spits out literally hundreds of ideas ranging from completely far-fetched to almost practical. Unfortunately, I was never able to realize his potential in any of my campaigns because he could never convince me that any of his ideas were worth pursuing.
Being able to sell an idea is essential in a public relations campaign for people who want their ideas to play a role in the success of a campaign. Because campaign managers don’t have the time or the money to chase down every rabbit hole idea generators throw at them, idea generators need to convince campaign managers that their ideas are worth investing both time and money in.
This can be a daunting task for idea generators. To idea generators, their ideas work perfectly because they know the “ins” and “outs” of their ideas. However, the idea generators may not communicate their in-depth knowledge of the idea to their campaign managers who do not know the “ins” and “outs” of the idea. This is similar to the ‘curse of knowledge’ concept in “Made to Stick.”
Even after effectively communicating the idea, the idea generator has to be prepared to further defend their idea. A campaign manager may think the idea sounds great, but they will often voice their concerns (which the idea generator may not have anticipated) and expect the idea generator to answer them on the spot or find out the answers later. Sometimes, this means implementing a mock version of their idea on their own time to prove to their campaign manager that their idea is plausible.
Sometimes, idea generators need get their hands dirty and spend the time and effort to produce an example or a plan of action for their idea. This does two things for the campaign manager:
1. It shows the campaign manager that the idea was good enough for the idea generator to put in time and effort to create an example.
2. It provides more answers to the questions and concerns that the campaign manager might have about the idea.
Idea generators who can show that they are dedicated to their idea are more successful at getting their ideas used in campaigns
In most cases, being an “answer man” is a sure way to get ignored. But because campaign managers have thousands of different aspects of a campaign to pay attention to, being an “answer man” in regards to your idea is a good way to increase the chance of having your idea used in a campaign.